Howdy everyone, and welcome to the Monday edition of the Los Angeles Times daily sports newsletter. My name is Houston Mitchell and I’m your host for the festivities. Subscribe to this newsletter by clicking here.
Let’s get to it.
Does this mean it’s baseball season now? And isn’t baseball supposed to be the boring game? Couldn’t tell by the Super Bowl. Disappointed the Rams lost, but there are worse things in the world.
Jared Goff seemed a bit nervous in his first Super Bowl, though some of his ineffectiveness was due to great defense by New England. And at some point we have to find out just what was going on with Todd Gurley in the postseason. He disappeared the last two games. He has to be hurt, otherwise the game plan Sean McVay laid out for him makes no sense at all. He carried the ball on the Rams’ first offensive play and then only two more times the first half. This is a guy who was touted as an MVP candidate most of the season. If he’s not hurt, how does that make sense?
But that’s a question for another day. Let’s see what our reporters in Atlanta had to say about the game.
Bill Plaschke: “Tom Brady thrust his hands into the air. Jared Goff banged his hands against his helmet.
“Brady swaggered off the field in the arms of his teammates. Goff remained stuck on the bench, frozen under his helmet.
“Brady was legendary. Goff was lost....
“Brady, 41, the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, showed why he is the greatest quarterback ever.
“Goff, 24, attempting to be the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, acted every bit his age.
Gary Klein: “The postgame press conference was over, and Rams coach Sean McVay had already blamed himself, saying he’d been completely outcoached. That he felt numb.
The New England Patriots ended what had been an otherwise dream season for McVay and the Rams with Sunday’s 13-3 victory in Super Bowl LIII that sent ageless Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick even deeper into Super Bowl lore.
As McVay headed back to the locker room, he couldn’t help taking another shot at himself. The Rams defense played very well. The offense, on the other hand, saved its worst performance for last.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get over it,” McVay said.
He could not yet consider the possibility of a return to the Super Bowl next year.
“That’s what’s so sickening about this,” McVay said. “You feel like you missed a great opportunity to try and capitalize on a chance to win a Super Bowl.
“I certainly didn’t so my part and that’s something that just really makes you sick.”
Dylan Hernandez: “As well as Goff played for a third-year quarterback, his production often felt like a byproduct of playing alongside Gurley and under coach Sean McVay rather than his ability. The dynamic was exposed by football’s greatest dynasty on the greatest stage the sport has to offer.
“The Rams were kept in the game by their defense. Late-game magic by Tom Brady allowed the Patriots to take a 10-3 lead with seven minutes remaining. When it was Goff’s turn to respond, he marched the Rams to the Patriots 27, only to throw an interception that will live on in infamy until the Rams win a Super Bowl.”
Arash Markazi: “The foundation of my relationship with the teams of Los Angeles began as a child in the crowd. I grew up on the ‘Showtime’ Lakers sitting in the colonnade section at the Forum. I learned how to score a baseball game sitting in the top deck at Dodger Stadium. And I discovered why USC students and alumni yelled “Fight on!” sitting near the peristyle end of the Coliseum.
I don’t have that connection with the Rams. As I watched them play one of their worst games of the season in front of a crowd that was filled with far more Patriots fans than Rams fans, I didn’t have the same emotional connection one has to a team they grew up with.
Georgia Frontiere, the late owner of the Rams, stole that from me and millions of others when she moved the Rams to St. Louis when I was a kid. I grew up in a Los Angeles devoid of the NFL.
“So it wasn’t a shock to walk around the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday and see Rams fans outnumbered 10-1 by Patriots fans. I hardly saw any Rams fans in the city during Super Bowl week. After Tom Brady won his sixth Super Bowl, he smiled as the crowd chanted his name and said, ‘The support here was like a home game. We could have been at Gillette Stadium.’
“Is that a bad look for Los Angeles? Not really.”
Sam Farmer: “Tom Brady was untouchable.
“The Rams struggled to get close to him. And so did Kevin Simkins, the burly NFL Films cameraman who has shot all six of the New England quarterback’s Super Bowl victories.
“The crush of people surrounding Brady after Sunday night’s game was so thick, that Simkins actually felt his feet lift off the ground when the pack moved.
“I was bouncing around like a piece of popcorn out there,” said Simkins, built like a linebacker.
“Chad Steele knows the feeling. He’s assigned by the NFL to shepherd the winning quarterback from spot to spot after the Super Bowl, yet this year was especially difficult.
“Everybody’s pushing and pulling different directions,” said the 6-foot-7 Steele, in charge of media relations for the Baltimore Ravens when he’s not working Super Bowls. “You’ve got his teammates trying to come see him, his coach trying to come see him. You don’t know which way to go, because he’s turning left, turning right. It’s just crazy.”
Jeff Miller: “Let’s answer the most obvious question first.
“Todd Gurley was healthy.
“He said it. His teammates said it. Coach Sean McVay said it.
“To be more accurate, they all repeated it Sunday, answering the question the same way they had for the past two weeks.
“Gurley was healthy for Super Bowl LIII. Only his game hurting. Again.
“Similar to the NFC championship, the NFL’s regular-season touchdown leader was strangely silent in - points wise - the least-offensive Super Bowl ever.
“No, I was fine,” Gurley said when asked directly if he was hurting. “I felt good.”
Mike DiGiovanna: “Julian Edelman had caught all 10 of his passes for 141 yards Sunday night, a performance that would eventually earn the New England Patriots slot receiver Super Bowl most valuable player honors, when he turned to big tight end Rob Gronkowski in the huddle with a fourth-quarter plea.
“Julian looked at me and said, ‘We need another play out of you, Rob, we need a huge play,’ ” Gronkowski said after the Patriots’ 13-3 victory over the Rams in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. “He’s been making them all game. I had to step up. Tom threw that ball where it needed to be, and I made the play.”
But perhaps it was Rams tackle Andrew Whitworth who said it best after the game when he pointed out, “"At the end of the day we’re all gonna die.”
In the words of the immortal Stan Lee, ‘nuff said.
The Clippers would love to sign Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard after the season ends, but he couldn’t have been too impressed with his potential new team after the Raptors routed the Clippers, 121-103 on Sunday.
This date in sports history
1951: Dick Button wins the men’s U.S. figure skating title.
1968: Bowie Kuhn is elected baseball commissioner.
1969: John Madden is named coach of the Oakland Raiders.
1983: Scott Hamilton wins the men’s U.S. figure skating title.
1987: Dennis Conner captains Stars and Stripes to victory in the America’s Cup.
1987: The Lakers hold the Sacramento Kings to only four points in the first quarter, the fewest in a quarter since the 24-second clock was added to the game in 1954.
2007: The Indianapolis Colts defeat the Chicago Bears, 29-17, to win Super Bowl XLI.
Notable births on this date
1906: Boxer Primo Carnera
1912: Golfer Byron Nelson
1913: Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes.
1959: Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor.
1961: NHL star Denis Savard
1973: Boxer Oscar De La Hoya.